From Peter to Putin: The Enduring Myth of Saint Petersburg

From Peter to Putin: The Enduring Myth of Saint Petersburg

Recorded on Wednesday, March 9, 2016
4:30 PM Central
with Dr. Thomas Garza

When Peter the Great founded his new Russian capital in 1703, the imagined and forced city of St. Petersburg became the center of Russian art, architecture, and literary culture for the next 200 years. During that time, the city and its denizens became part of a “myth,” a collection of legends and tales connected to the image of the city in cultural texts and in the collective Russian consciousness. This presentation traces the development of the Petersburg Myth in the literary works of the great writers (including Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tsvetaeva), art (Benois, Kramskoi and “The Wanderers”), and architecture (Rastrelli, Rossi, Quarenghi), focusing on the creation and perpetuation of this salient phenomenon in Russian national culture. We will examine cultural products (literature, art, film) that represent various perspectives on the Myth, and bring its relevance right up to the 21st century and one of Petersburg’s most (in)famous native sons, Vladimir Putin.

Watch the recording here!

If you would like to receive CPE credit, please email three things you have learned to shermanloeffler@utexas.edu. You are able to receive credit whether you watched the webinar live or viewed the recording.

More resources:

-Powerpoint - low res in PDF format

-Powerpoint - high res in PDF format

-PDF with poems by Blok, Pushkin, Akhamtova (in Russian and with the English translation)

External resources:

The University of Wisconsin Press has published an anthology about St. Petersburg in relation to the modernist novel "Petersburg" by Russian author Andrey Bely. The essays are at an advanced level, but the accompanying website is a gem.

Matich, Olga. Petersburg, Petersburg: Novel and City, 1900-1921 (Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2010).